Pakistan not alone in terror fight: Erdoğan
Pakistan and Turkey contribute to regional peace, PM Erdoğan says. DAILY NEWS photoTurkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has lent his support for the development of democracy in Pakistan while outlining the important role of a legislative opposition during a speech to the South Asian country’s Parliament yesterday.
Pakistan’s stability is crucial for peace and security in the region, he said while expressing encouragement as the country continues on the path to fostering a democratic tradition.
Erdoğan said the opposition was as important as the government in democracies and added that the goal of the opposition should not only be to criticize and remove the sitting administration. The opposition’s major function is to support actions that benefit the people and to draw attention to what is right if the government is doing anything wrong, said Erdoğan, daily Hürriyet reported. A constructive opposition is an inseparable part of democracy, he added.
The road to democracy has never been easy in anywhere in the world and necessitates relentless struggle, said Erdoğan, adding that people expected democracy to offer them solutions to economic problems and a broadening of freedoms.
He also said democracy needed continued reforms while noting that countries required democracy if they wanted to have a voice in the international arena.
Erdoğan also pledged to continue cooperation with Pakistan in the fight against the terror saying, “We will always side with [Pakistani] people in your rightful case.”
The prime minister also said they would keep doing their utmost to boost economic and commercial relations with Pakistan and that they would work to boost the trade volume up to 2 billion dollars.
As two important countries in the region, Pakistan and Turkey are the nations that will contribute to regional and global peace, he said, adding that the process that started in Tunisia and the ongoing processes in Egypt, Yemen, Palestine and Syria, as well as developments in Iraq, could be solved through peace if there was a powerful Islamic world. “I believe that we have a serious responsibility on the matter,” he added.
“One cannot resist the demands of the people. It wins you more respect if you respect the demands of the Pakistani people,” he told the parliamentarians, according to Hürriyet.
Erdoğan arrived in Pakistan on May 20 for an official three-day visit as a guest of his Pakistani counterpart, Yousuf Raza Gilani. Following Erdoğan’s speech, Gilani also addressed Parliament, saying Turkey’s economy set a good example to the rest of the Muslim world.
Erdoğan is scheduled to attend the second session of the Turkey-Pakistan High Level Cooperation Council today. Erdoğan will also meet with Gilani, and the two will appear in a joint press conference today.
The Turkish prime minister is being accompanied by a large delegation of Cabinet members, including a deputy premier, as well as the economy, environment, energy and transportation ministers. Erdoğan will proceed to the Kazakh capital Astana today after wrapping up his talks in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PLM-N), said yesterday it would boycott a banquet being hosted by Gilani for Erdoğan as a protest against the Pakistani leader’s conviction for contempt of court.
On April 26, Gilani became Pakistan’s first sitting prime minister to be convicted in court for refusing to ask Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. Gilani had refused on the grounds that the head of state enjoys immunity. The PML-N has demanded that Gilani resign, saying the conviction disqualified him from office and called for early elections that are not due until February 2013.
“No one [from the party] is going to the dinner because we do not recognize him as prime minister,” PML-N media coordinator Asim Niazi told Agence France-Presse.
But senior PML-N leaders said the party would set domestic politics aside to attend the parliamentary session because “Erdoğan is our honored guest.”